shows shows shows / by laurel

Straightaway, I'll put the important information out there before launching into a longwinded aside:

Devendra Banhart. Sun, Jun 29, Hollywood Bowl
Feist. Sun, Jul 20, Hollywood Bowl
Gnarls Barkley/Deerhoof. Sun, Jul 27, Hollywood Bowl

These shows are $10 apiece. Ten bucks!

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds/Spiritualized/Cat Power. Wed, Sept 17, Hollywood Bowl

Tix start at $25

Beck/Spoon/MGMT. Sat, Sept 20, Hollywood Bowl. 

Tix start at $20

The important thing, however, is that ALL these shows go on sale this Saturday, May 10. So, hit me with a comment or email me if you want to go. 

Now about the Bowl. I can't think of many things I like to do more in the summertime than go to a cheap show at the Hollywood Bowl. $10 (or, in better years, $5-7) to see the likes of Ryan Adams, Willy Nelson, The Flaming Lips and so on. It's absolutely worth the drive out there (more on that in a second) to relax under the stars with a few bottles of wine (more on that later as well) with a few of your friends. I've seen a handful of acts at the Bowl (Arcade Fire, David Byrne, Sigur Ros, Decemberists, Andrew Bird, and Band of Horses, to name a few), but by far my favorite (and most defining) experience happened two summers ago when Belle & Sebastian and the Shins came to town (in fact, put on your headphones and listen to "Stars of Track and Field" right now). 

I was working at American Apparel at the time, so I was smack in the middle of downtown LA. We'd managed to wrangle up a decent crew for the show, a few of which came up to LA earlier in the day to eat lunch with me before tooling around Hollywood before picking me up again at 5:30 p.m., giving us two full hours to battle traffic from downtown to the shuttle stop at Lankershim. The only tasks the boys had to accomplish were to buy bread and cheese at the store for our makeshift picnic.

I made sure to emphasize to them the importance of being on time, since just a few weeks earlier we'd had a bit of a kerfuffle involving Radiohead and Josh being in La Mirada getting gas when he was supposed to be in Los Angeles picking me up from work. And folks, Radiohead is not a band you just casually show up late for, namean? Luckily, Jen had pulled through for me and I still managed to get to the show on time. But boy, was I ever annoyed. Anyone who knows me knows that I am highly (acutely and even detrimentally) time-oriented, a trait which I know for a fact came from my Dad (hi, Dad. Thanks for imparting the most annoying trait IN THE WORLD to me. 'Preciate it). "So 5:30," I said. "5:30," I repeated. "5:30!" I bellowed from the parking lot as the boys drove away in search of Amoeba, bread, and cheese. 

5:30 rolled around, and, like clockwork (or a clock that stops ticking because it has bad time management and got itself lost in Hollywood), I got a phone call at 5:45 from Adam, explaining that they were lost somewhere in Hollywood, that they were on their way, that they'd be there soon, and no, they did not need directions. Finally by 6 p.m., they rolled into the parking lot with sheepish grins on their faces. We pulled onto the freeway and immediately stopped dead on the road. When I say that traffic wasn't moving, it's only one teensy iota above an exaggeration. Traffic was crawling at a snail's pace, slower than a wheelchair marathon. Slower than a toddler marathon. Slower than ME in a marathon. 

I wasn't too concerned just yet, despite my gnawing annoyance at the lateness of my comrades (common justifications for my annoyance are, "It's rude!", "It's rude!", and, "But it's just RUDE!" to which I am most often met with total indifference). As we crawled along the stretch of the 101 that skirts the outside of Downtown, my annoyance reached a boiling point when Sean casually asked, "So are there any grocery stores between here and the Bowl? We still need to buy bread and cheese."

At that point I'm pretty sure snakes grew out of my head and gobbled up everyone in the car, burped, and then started in on the rest of the cars on the road, but it can't be verified because everyone within a 2-mile radius of me at that moment is now dead.

We decided to exit the freeway in search of open surface streets because traffic on the 101 was worse that I've ever seen it (and to this day, it has never, ever been quite so bad. And that fact CAN be corroborated - just enter "bad traffic july 2006 belle and sebastian bowl" in google and see for yourselves). As we traversed the arteries and veins connecting downtown with Hollywood, North Hollywood and beyond, I started to get the nagging sense that traffic was never actually going to ease up. It was now nearing 7 p.m. (the show started at 7:30), and we were no closer to our destination. Finally we pulled onto Highland from, I believe, Beverly or somewhere thereabouts, and traffic, which had previously been crawling along as I mentioned, now stopped. Dead stopped. Like put your car in park and pick your nose, stopped. And I noticed another disturbing sight: People with picnic baskets were walking. Walking to the Bowl. From Highland and Beverly. It was now 7:20 p.m.

At that moment, I had become so desperate and so enraged at all of Los Angeles and the Earth and the Cosmos, that I calmly opened the car door without a word, climbed out, closed the door, and started power walking up Highland, alone, on a one-woman mission to get to the show in less than ten minutes. Josh eventually caught up with me and so we walked, together, I frantic and he unconcerned. Somewhere around Highland and Hollywood, I discovered what all the crazy Oregonians are always yapping about with comfortable shoes and function over fashion, because in the sandals I was wearing, my feet apparently were fashionably sheathed but poorly circulated, so my right foot began to go numb. Yes, numb. And my bladder suddenly arose from the murky depths and crowed, "I must be emptied right this second or I will stage a full-fledged mutiny on your system, your clothing, and your dignity!"

We stopped to look for a bathroom at Highland and Franklin, and, finding nothing, I left Josh in the liquor store where he was calmly and casually waiting in a line of at least 5 people to buy beer. Beer? WHO CAN THINK OF DRINKING AT A TIME LIKE THIS?! IT'S 7:35! So I continued on my trek up the hill with a bladder on the verge of insurgence and a foot that was now numb up to the knee. 

Dragging my right foot behind me, I finally managed to make it to my seat in time to catch the last song of the Shins' set, along with the 10 or so other people who had managed to get to the Hollywood Bowl on time. The rest of my friends showed up between sets, and in our crushing disappointment at missing the Shins' show, we drown our sorrows immediately in all the alcohol we had brought with us. At one point Adam took a massive gulp of champagne, and, thus affected by the sheer magnitude of tiny bubbles tickling his throat all at once, proceeded to spew the entire contents of his mouth onto the heads of the people sitting in front of us, who, needless to say, were NOT. PLEASED.

By the time Belle & Sebastian came on, Adam and I were completely over the moon(shine), giggling like little kids and slurring our words and crossing our eyes, generally enamored with anything and everything in our drunken paths. To this day, that remains one of my favorite Summer memories.

And it's the reason I'm so excited for this season's lineup at the Bowl. So if you've made it to the end of the post, O stalwart reader, I will emphasize once more: Scrounge the $10 out of your pockets you've been saving for beer or food, and spend it on something worth infinitely more. Like at least $15.